"If you build a handle, the blade will come"

Discussion in 'Handiwork Display' started by Bert2368, Apr 13, 2019.

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  1. Apr 13, 2019 #1

    Bert2368

    Bert2368

    Bert2368

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    I am going to re-handle a couple of blades with trashed handles from the junk drawer, then if successful, try a couple of Japanese blades which are new(ish) but came with the very generic white wood handles & flimsy plastic ferules.

    I'm using (free/cheap) materials already on hand. Blades and findings out of the junk drawer, old wood bits left over from former jobs or old projects (hey, it's good and dry by now).

    First step: Taking an old convection oven/toaster with non functional upper (broiler) element and turning it into a WOOD COOKER.

    I am roasting blanks made of some very well dried hard maple, salvaged while remodeling in the 1990s from a kitchen built around 1927.

    Cooking 1.375" square maple blanks at 360 F. for 4 hours. A SWAG as per my interpretation of this thread at "lumberjocks":

    https://www.lumberjocks.com/topics/52092

    Film at 11:00.

    ------

    OK Michi, FREE ICECREAM!!!

    Making 1 3/8" X 1 1/2" blanks out of a 12" piece of nominal 2X maple. The darkened piece of wood on other side of fence from blade is the rest of the salvaged board, about 44" more is left.

    20190412_195932.jpg

    I cleaned up some saw scorch marks on blanks, wanted to see what color changes may occur. It's HARD, dry old wood. I have NO idea why my hands drew registry marks on the board ends before ripping, they didn't consult with my brain on this...


    20190412_195849.jpg

    Blanks go into a countertop convection oven, temporarily set up outdoors. It's snowing here, in case you couldn't't tell.

    Blanks weighed variously, 390, 391 and 396 grams before cooking. Weights were penciled on ends...

    20190412_195804.jpg

    20190412_195727.jpg
     
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2019
  2. Apr 13, 2019 #2

    Michi

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    That sounds like a fun project. Almost one hundred year old maple should look great!

    Please post pictures of the process!
     
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2019
  3. Apr 13, 2019 #3

    McMan

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    I'm interested to see how this turns out. The link you posted had really nice results with the baking. I have a feeling you might be on to something here...
     
  4. Apr 13, 2019 #4

    inferno

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    did these taste well after they were done?
     
  5. Apr 13, 2019 #5

    Bert2368

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    They have another hour + in the oven, I just turned & rotated them at 1/2 way (like pies!).

    At this point, they smell GREAT. Like a slightly smoky shortbread or sugar cookie?
     
  6. Apr 13, 2019 #6

    Michi

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    Thank you! :)

    No scorching on the wood?
     
  7. Apr 13, 2019 #7

    Bert2368

    Bert2368

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    The sun has gone down now, lighting here is the tiny, dim incandescent built into oven + my LED headlamp, very different from earlier pictures- but.

    The piece in front in below picture was formerly in back/reversed/other side up, and so was in hottest part of oven. Toy oven control only accepts sets in 25 F. increments, so process has been running at 275 F. I REALLY should get out a good thermometer and verify what oven temperature actually is.

    There is a little bit of extra browning on a few of the long edges, otherwise, just getting a nice suntan.

    Will take a better lit picture after they cool. A few checks have opened up on end grain but don't appear to be too deep. Next time, perhaps I could try some Aluminum foil on end grain? Shellac or wax wouldn't take the heat.

    20190412_211704.jpg
     
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2019
  8. Apr 13, 2019 #8

    Bert2368

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    The maple cookies have cooled off.

    Yes, I burned myself tasting the first one.o_O

    My opinion: This is worth experimenting on, the wood looks nice to me, sands to a glassy feeling surface, no stain is required for a range of tan to brown shades.

    See these pictures of interior of wood, a cross cut (end grain) and a couple of rip cuts at various angles along the grain. I sanded them briefly on the belt sander at 220 and a little longer by hand using 320 wet/dry paper on a sheet of window glass.

    20190412_231403.jpg

    20190413_000328.jpg

    A before and after shot, same pieces, same side/orientation (those registry marks WERE good for something in the end).

    20190412_195849.jpg

    20190413_001033.jpg

    Didn't catch fire, warp, split or check the maple significantly.

    I would recomend starting with blanks large enough to cut at least 1/8" of surface away everywhere in case of scorches, warping, etc.

    I should have used ONE blank in for the first try, experimented with temperature, time on others.

    Stopped at 3 hours and a couple of minutes from time oven reached set temperature, some areas were starting to get browner than I liked.

    I would guess I was on the edge of being too hot, 15 F. above the recommended 360 F. (on this stove's unverified thermostat at least) seems to make a good bit of difference. Next time, I will place a digital thermometer probe in the oven.

    For that matter, I was in too much of a hurry to think of it, but I have a couple of PID temperature controlls with probes designed for the temperatures of molten Lead or type metal alloys, I CAN control the temperature much better with a little work.

    The 3 pieces varied slightly in weight change, losing 12.1%, 13% and 13.4% in the process. After a few days, will weigh the blanks I have not cut or sanded on again.
     
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2019
  9. Apr 13, 2019 #9

    Michi

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    Looks really nice! If, after the wood having been stored for so long, you still got 13% weight loss, that wood is definitely very dry. I would expect it to re-absorb some moisture from the air. But I suspect you'll have it as stable as it's going to get without stabilising it.
     
  10. Apr 13, 2019 #10

    TB_London

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    I’ve had torrified maple on my things to make list for a while, great to see you got good results
     
  11. Apr 14, 2019 #11

    Bert2368

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    Fire and ice-

    I spent yesterday outdoors working at a snow covered golf course. Someone had planned a nice Spring wedding- Which looked a lot like a winter wedding to ME. I froze my ass off!

    20190413_155712.jpg

    20190413_155620.jpg



    I will get back to fabricating the knife handles after I recover a bit.
     
  12. Apr 15, 2019 #12

    ACHiPo

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    Does the darkening go all the way through the maple, or just the surface?
     
  13. Apr 15, 2019 #13

    Bert2368

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    It goes all the way through, see the first two pictures of post #8 in this thread.

    End grain (first) photo, I have cross cut one of the 12" long pieces in two at center to make two 6" blanks. Wood has uniformly darkened all the way through.

    Second photo, I have ripped one of the resulting 6" blanks down the middle and cut a 45 degree bevel off a corner of the the other blank.

    All cut edges shown in these pictures have been sanded to 320 grit, they feel like glass.

    Lots of wood workers articles on the net about the results of process and uses for the heat treated wood, as here:

    https://robcosman.com/pages/newsletter-article-torrefied-wood

    There are discussions on several guitar forums of the changes in "feel" between toasted and un toasted maple guitar necks & fret boards, most is positive.

    Only downsides I have read about so far: As in most materials, harder usually = more brittle. Some discussion of the treated wood needing to re-absorb 4 to 6% moisture to regain flexibility and being especially brittle until this occurs, even of commercial producers introducing steam to their kilns at end of processing to ensure the treated wood has some moisture in it during kiln unloading & transport of wood.
     
  14. Apr 15, 2019 #14

    merlijny2k

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    Does this work primarily on maple, a certain class of woods or will any wood do?
     
  15. Apr 15, 2019 #15

    Bert2368

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    I have known of this technique for less than a week. Some others here knew of it before, apparently.

    The information I have read is largely about hard maple, Martin Guitars and other commercial processors seem to have done a lot of work on this species.

    I do see references to wild cherry and a few other North American native species being heat treated as well.

    Google is probably your friend here. Recomended (desirable?) process temperature/time profiles vs. resulting mechanical characteristics seem to be different for various species.

    I've barely begun to learn about this process and done ONE batch so far. The hardwood distributor's trade association might be a resource?

    http://www.hardwooddistributors.org/postings/what-is-thermally-modified-wood/

    https://www.americanhardwood.org/en/latest/blog/new-opportunities-for-us-hardwood
     
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2019
  16. Apr 16, 2019 #16

    milkbaby

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    Thanks for sharing, that was a really nice color change. Natural maple is often so light colored, this seems to bring out some of the character better.
     
  17. Apr 16, 2019 #17

    TB_London

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    Works well in maple as the sugars caramelise-(think maple syrup). I’ve seen spruce done but not much else
     
  18. Apr 16, 2019 #18

    Bert2368

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    I just dug out some quartersawn white oak and wild cherry scraps from my collection. Will report further on results after some more baking.
     
  19. Apr 17, 2019 #19

    Bert2368

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    20190416_210603.jpg

    20190416_212905.jpg

    20190416_212944.jpg

    These are going to be the next "heat treating wood for knife handles" test pieces. The blanks are 1 3/4" X 1 3/4" X 12" long. I have another 4' + of the 3 3/4" X 1 3/4" plank left if this is desirable to repeat.

    It is more-or-less quarter sawn white oak- I found this already well aged plank around 1996 in a roll off box sitting across the steeet from my apartment after my friend and neighbor Bob died.

    Bob's family emptied his many decades worth of "someday when I get my 'round to it" wood collecting into said dumpster and sold the house ASAP- You will likely be seeing more of Bob's wood collection, he had good taste.

    Bob, wherever you are, thanks. I'm going to use some of your wood for science!
     
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2019
  20. Apr 18, 2019 #20

    inferno

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    Bert its time you turn those pieces of wood into something useful now. You need to find a donor blade and then make a handle.
     
  21. Apr 22, 2019 #21

    Bert2368

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    Yes, I DO tend to microfocus and chase the pretty squirrels, this WAS all about making knives originally, wasn't it?

    I have three donor blades and now I have 3 different main handle woods and 4 different harder ferule woods to try...

    This is the white oak, cooked at 350 F. for 3 hours. First picture is wood as it came out of the convection oven.

    20190422_164225.jpg

    Here I have shaved about 1/8" off of all the long sides, cut the 12" length in two for a couple of blanks and cut a 45 bevel on one corner, then sanded all surfaces to 220 on the belt sander. The appearance reminds me of oiled teak, smells like some nice BBQ is upwind.

    20190422_172232.jpg
    20190422_162929.jpg
    20190422_162935.jpg
    20190422_163512.jpg

    The oak did not check anywhere it had not already begun to, nor did the existing splits get noticeably larger.

    I did the heat treatment a couple of days ago, it has been humid and rainy since but pieces picked up less than 2% in weight from moisture.

    And Fedex just brought me a cuban mahogany board!

    20190422_155808.jpg


    20190422_162652.jpg

    I'm going to try the hidden dowel method, so drilling is next. After that, I need to cut some ferule (tsuba? is this correct word?) pieces, decide about spacers, if any. Then organize some epoxy & clamps and get sticky with it.
     
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2019
  22. Apr 23, 2019 #22

    Bert2368

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    I have not cut the largest pieces for the handles to final length, the hard, dense woods for the ends are cut to approximately 1" slices, all have been given a quick sanding to get a look at the grain & remove any wax or shellac from wood.

    The longer pieces are all about 6" long in this picture, I estimate they will be cut down to 3" or so, yielding approximately 5" long handle blanks when glued up. Knives these are going on have about 150 -165mm blades. Anyone see issues with those dimensions?

    How about these combinations? Any suggestions for good looking spacer materials to accompany these woods?

    From top to bottom:

    Cuban mahogany in middle with south american ironwood ends

    Heat treated white oak with quebracho ends

    Heat treated maple with quebracho ends

    And a couple of blocks of cocobolo, just because I had the rule out and the saw running. The block I have of cocobolo is only 1" square, these might best be used on a smaller knife handle than I'm targetting here?


    20190422_195635.jpg

    Still not sure what, if any spacers I might use between the woods.

    ----------

    (Edit)

    How about "musical chairs". A couple thin slices off the oak blank for spacers on the maple cored handle. A couple thin slices off the maple blank for spacers on the oak cored handle.

    Simple understated elegance with the mahogany handle, no spacers at all?
     
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2019
  23. May 1, 2019 #23

    inferno

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    Bert I'm thinking about starting a handle tomorrow. I have not decieded on anything yet and the knife still had a factory handle.
    should we see who gets finished first?
     
  24. May 1, 2019 #24

    Michi

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    Good things need time :)
     
  25. May 1, 2019 #25

    Bert2368

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    I have been somewhat slow. Sciatica just entered my life. Be happy if it @#$%!!! LEFT
     
  26. May 10, 2019 #26

    inferno

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    bert i have finished my handle man! its in the 3:rd oiling now. tung oil of course. Only the best is good enough.
     
  27. May 10, 2019 #27

    Bert2368

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    I am looking for someone with one of those cattle killing captive bolt guns. To use on me. Because I'm tired of being in pain.
     
  28. May 11, 2019 #28

    chinacats

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    What state do you live in?
     
  29. May 11, 2019 #29

    inferno

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    whatabout just loaning a regular gun. i recommend a 44 magnum myself for suicides. or 500 s/w magnum (not really readily available). but i think the 44 will do good too. even if you miss you kinda hit it. 13-1400 joules or so on the good rounds. sure 500sw is 3000 Joules and up but it might be overkill. atleast for executing yourself. will be messy though. fuk even 44mag will be

    looks similar to this i guess.

     
  30. May 11, 2019 #30

    inferno

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    Not trying to be a dick bert but have you really thought this through? who will get all your wood? I want your wood bert. and also your knives.
     

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